BA Modern History with Economics

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Natural Resource Economics

Course unit fact file
Unit code ECON30232
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The unit aims to develop students’ understanding of optimal use of natural resource and environmental good based 2-period and multi-period dynamic optimisation method and its numerical application. It also aims to develop a unique skill how to transform a real-world natural resource related problem into mathematical framework, solve the problem following optimisation technique, and explain the results intuitively. It helps students understand the policy instruments, economic and behavioural tools, to ensure sustainable development. Finally, students get hand-on experience how to conduct lab experiments by participating into in-class experiments on public-good game, Coasean bargaining, optimal taxation, and so on.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Advanced Mathematics ECON10071A Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Intermediate Microeconomic Theory 1 ECON20501 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomics 3 ECON20021 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Advanced Mathematics ECON20071 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomics 3 ECON30021 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Intermediate Microeconomic Theory 1: Consumers, Producers and General Equilibrium ECON30501 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Advanced Mathematics ECON10071B Pre-Requisite Compulsory
(ECON20021 OR ECON30021 OR ECON20501 OR ECON30501) AND (ECON10071A OR ECON10071B OR ECON20071)

(ECON20021 or ECON30021 or ECON20501 or ECON30501) and (ECON10071 or ECON20071)


The aims of this unit are to:

  1. To introduce students to the interaction between the natural resource/environment with human activity, i.e., bio-economic models
  2. To develop critical analysis and lay the foundation for dynamic optimisation (in particular, optimal control)
  3. To provide a detailed and qualified economic perspective of recent and global natural resource and environmental issues
  4. To introduce and critically explain economic policies using standard economic tolls and non-standard behavioural tools to use the natural resources efficiently
  5. To introduce and critically explain the concept of sustainability
  6. To introduce behavioural economics tools to make good environmental policies better by using in-class experiments/games

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate their understanding of some of the fundamental relationships between economic activity and the 'natural environment';
  2. Demonstrate their understanding of the optimal rate of use of non-renewable natural resources and the role of the interest rate, extraction costs and backstop technologies on the price and supply path;
  3. Use bioeconomic models & demonstrate their understanding of the optimal rate of use of renewable natural resources and role of property rights regimes;
  4. Demonstrate their understanding about standard economic and non-standard behavioural policy tools to protect the natural resources and the environment and exploit them sustainably;
  5. How to conduct independent research within a group on natural resource/environmental economics;
  6. Demonstrate their understanding on forest economics, ecological economics, energy economics, and sustainability.


Topic 0: Introduction

Topic 1. Property Rights and Management of Public Goods and Common Pool Resources (e.g., Renewable Resources)

Topic 2. Property Rights, Externalities, Coase Mechanism, and Management of Non-renewable Resources

Topic 3. Economics of Non-Renewable resources with Dynamic Optimization

Topic 4: Economics of Renewable resources with Dynamic Optimization

Topic 5: Sustainability, Elephant, Ecological Economics, and Forest economics

Teaching and learning methods

Synchronous activities (such as Lectures or Review and Q&A sessions, and tutorials), and guided self-study

Intellectual skills

Critical thinking, Problem solving, Problem posing, Decision-Making; Team Work

Practical skills

Planning independent research and study using library, electronic and online resources,

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Information Retrieval, Numeracy, Literacy, Computer Literacy, Time Management Applying Subject Knowledge, Improving own Learning;

Other attributes: Willingness to update knowledge; Listening; Commercial Awareness, Stress Tolerance, Self-confident, Independence, Self-management, etc.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Problem solving
Planning independent research and study using library, electronic and online resources.
Information retrieval. Numeracy. Literacy. Computer literacy. Time-management Applying subject knowledge. Improving own learning.

Assessment methods

60% Exam (Online, Answers with a word limit up to 1300 words)

30% Group work (1200 words)

10% Excel exercise methods

Feedback methods

  • Mock exam.
  • Tutorial feedback.
  • Office hours.
  • Discussion boards.

Recommended reading

  • T. Tietenberg, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Pearson / Addison Wesley.
  • R. Perman, Y. Ma, J. McGilvray, M. Common (2003), Natural Resource and Environmental Economics (3rd Ed. Or 4th Ed.).

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Prasenjit Banerjee Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For every 10 course unit credits we expect students to work for around 100 hours. This time generally includes any contact times (online or face to face, recorded and live), but also independent study, work for coursework, and group work. This amount is only a guidance and individual study time will vary.

Return to course details